Political Action Committee
I’d like to take a few moments to discuss your role in our legislative process. Many of you already know how active your FOP is at the statehouse. Hopefully, those of you that don’t may have a different perspective after reading this information.
As you may know, the Rucklaw Firm has represented the Indiana FOP for many years. Within that firm, Leo Blackwell (our general counsel) and Ed Merchant are our legislative representatives at the statehouse. They are our “face” of law enforcement every day at the statehouse. Although your President and Vice President are often at the Statehouse and testify several times during each session. Leo and Ed are the ones that our elected Representatives and Senators speak to in all areas of law enforcement and who they go to with questions regarding current and proposed legislation.
During the 2018-2019 General Session at the statehouse your FOP was very successful with several proactive pieces of legislation that passed benefiting our members. For the first time since 1977, your pension benefits increased (if you are in the 77 INPERS fund). We were also successful in passing a “Police Officers Bill of Rights”, which provides protections for our officers across the state, and a Public Safety Officer Contract Negotiations Bill providing mandatory mediation in the event of an impasse. We were also able this session to increase the Line-of-Duty state death benefit from $150,000 to $225,000.
To be sure, the last session was one of the most productive in recent memory in terms of benefits and protections for law enforcement statewide. That’s the proactive benefit of having Rucklaw under contract with the state FOP for legislative services. It is also very important that we defend our existing benefits through the Rucklaw team. It isn’t unusual during each session to have legislation introduced that negatively impacts your pension, legislation that would alter your benefits negatively, legislation that could change your pension from a Defined Benefit Plan (where you know what your benefit will be when you decide to retire) to a Defined Contribution Plan (where you know what you’re paying into the plan but your benefit depends entirely on how the markets perform). We all know that the national trend is to change public pensions from defined benefit plans (like ours) to defined contribution plans. Newer generations of officers are going to retire with likely LESS than you are due to this trend. Notwithstanding the retirement benefits, when legislation is introduces other benefits and protections that you have when injured on duty, injured off-duty, and even killed in the line of duty can be at risk. Our team at the statehouse has been able to successfully educate elected officials to the negative aspects of such proposed legislation. For many years, your FOP and our legislative team have been meeting with elected officials during the “off-season” in their home districts to educate them regarding any upcoming legislation that the FOP may be supporting, and any legislation that the FOP may be opposing, as well as our pension benefits and why they should be protected-not changed.
With all the anti-police rhetoric that is taking place we anticipate a rash of anti-police legislation and a push for police reform. Legislation that may or may not be rooted in the best interests of law enforcement or, quite frankly, the citizens which we serve. We have a top-notch team to argue the finer points of any proposed legislation and one of the top legislative teams in the country. To support those elected officials that write, introduce, and support our legislation takes money! We are not legally allowed to use dues money for such political action purposes. In order to support our friends and defeat our enemies we need your help. Your voluntary contributions are needed to fund our PAC so that we can fight the good fight for our members. So, there it is. This letter is asking for you to voluntarily fund our PAC. We need your help and we need it each and every year. We need your help to continue to do the things I have described and to continue to fight for our members at the statehouse.
What I’d like to suggest is this: if each of our 110 lodges would donate $100.00 funded by fundraisers, etc. (we cannot use dues money to fund our PAC) we could immediately generate $11,000.00. If you would plan to do that every year we would be able to continue some of the services of our PAC. That is not going to be enough, however. I would also propose that each member commit to donate $2.00 per pay (based on bi-weekly pay schedule) to your PAC fund, which would be only $52.00 a year. You could do that with a one-time donation, or however your financial situation would dictate. You could call our office and donate over the phone, you could send a check, or you would be able to log on to the members only portion of the website and donate using the PAC donation procedure as well. Again, if you would commit to donate each and every year our PAC fund would be able to do the things that we need to do to protect our membership and work to enhance our benefits. Your State FOP Executive Board has pledged 100% participation in donating to the PAC.
I know that your hard-earned dollars are needed for your families. I do not take this request lightly, nor would we utilize this money foolishly. I assure you that these funds are needed to further our work at the statehouse. We have been very successful in recent years, and especially successful the last two sessions.
We have, for many years, operated with the philosophy that we support our friends at the statehouse and work to defeat those that work against us. That takes money and we use that money to help our friends in their bids for office and in re-election campaigns. We know that our FOP logo and our endorsement means a lot to our friends in their campaigns, but you and I know that simply lending our logo and name will not get someone elected. It takes money.
I will assure you that if you commit a few of your hard-earned dollars to your PAC fund that we will be frugal in using those dollars to improve and protect your working conditions and benefits. Again, we cannot do that without your help and your financial commitment. Please do what you can today. May God Bless you and your family and God Bless America!
Page Last Updated: Jun 11, 2021 (09:32:19)